One-fourth of Sri Lanka’s population will be over 60 by 2050: WB

Feb 18, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will witness dramatic impacts on aging and urbanization contrary to the demographics of most South Asian economies, the World Bank said in a recent report.

By 2050, it is projected that more than 25 percent of the population will be over 60, up from 13.4 percent in 2015.

The World Bank says unlike most South Asian economies, Sri Lanka does not have a demographic dividend.

Population aging will likely impact the country’s fiscal accounts through three channels: tax revenue, fiscal expenditure, and GDP growth, the bank said.

“Unless labor force and employment rates increase, a very small number of employed people will need to provide for a very large number of non-working people,” the bank said.

With 96 percent literacy rates, the World Bank says the education system will need to place increasing emphasis on job-specific skills that match private-sector demand and tertiary education.

“The types of public services required will change as the population becomes older and has a higher income,” the Bank said.

“The health system, for example, must build capacity to address non-communicable diseases associated with a wealthier, more urban lifestyle (diabetes and traffic accidents) and with an older population (geriatric care).”

As per the World Bank estimates Sri Lanka has the oldest population age composition outside of the Eastern European transition economies.

In two decades Sri Lanka’s age profile will be similar to that of Europe and Japan today, but with much lower income to support the large number of elderly dependents.